Earl Watson In Front As Suns Begin Coaching Search

MONDAY, 5:19pm: The Suns have interviewed Watson but haven’t done so with anyone else yet, according to John Gambadoro of KMVP-FM in Phoenix (Twitter link).

THURSDAY, 2:19pm: People in the Suns organization and around the league believe Suns interim head coach Earl Watson is the front-runner among the candidates the Suns will consider as they search to formally fill the head coaching position, reports Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic. The team’s search begins in earnest today, Coro writes.

Kevin McHale and Scott Brooks have drawn mention, according to Coro, though it’s unclear if the team is indeed considering them. Some hear that Jason Kidd is a possibility, Coro writes, though Kidd appears poised for an extension with the Bucks. Previous reports have indicated the team will consider Sixers assistant and former Suns head coach Mike D’Antoni, Warriors assistant Luke Walton, Grand Canyon University coach Dan Majerle and Villanova coach Jay Wright, as Coro discusses.

Watson appeals to the Suns because he helped rehabilitate Markieff Morris‘ trade value, improved the team defensively down the stretch, and has a reputation as a skilled free agent recruiter, as Coro details, pointing out that he and star Eric Bledsoe are both clients of Klutch Sports. The interim coach has earned the support of Suns players, who appear to be unanimously behind him, Coro tweets.

“I think he’s done an incredible job,” Suns center Tyson Chandler said. “I try to stay out of the way of management decisions, but he’s done an incredible job with the team he inherited with all the injuries and everything else like that. He’s done an excellent job coming in and helping the young players, as well as helping guys like myself get adapted here. He’s added structure. Everything he has done has been positive. He came in and took over this team in a tough position. I thought he has done an excellent job. Nobody could’ve asked for anything better.”

The Suns were only 9-24 under Watson, though he was mostly without Bledsoe and Brandon Knight because of injury. A recent Hoops Rumors Community Shootaround invites your discussion on the Suns coaching situation.

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